I’ve been coaching with Ultimate Peace in different ways for years now. A couple highlights from UP’s Ongoing Program stood out as reasons why we’re a special organization – for this region and this moment.
As you may know, UP coaches ultimate in about a dozen communities throughout the year. Two UP communities are located close to each other but far from the rest of our program: Tuba-Zangariya and Yesod Hamaalah. Here are stories of recent success in each.
Tuba-Zangariya is a traditionally Bedouin community where Ultimate Peace has been very consistently driving several hours north every Friday to coach this community – for a couple years now. UP volunteers run fun and productive practices with this group of kids between 10 and 17 years old.
In talking with a community leader whose two kids play several sports, it appears that the municipality is low on money to pay for things like field space, coaches, and travel. Soccer and basketball coaches, therefore, are not showing up to keep their sport going. And those kids are hungry for other playing opportunities… Which is where UP comes in:
UP has recently seen a dramatic increase in players attending Friday afternoon ultimate practices! We couldn’t do it without the support and engagement of our volunteers, who are shining while other sports and sports for peace programs are fading.
Yesod Hama’ala is a Jewish community less than twenty kilomters north of Tuba, where Ultimate Peace started practices February of this year. For several weeks in a row, the number of players coming to UP practice kept doubling. The team is now at a steady 15.
Once Ultimate Peace had this base of players practicing, we began to advertise and recruit for additional activities, like UP Games and now Camp UP. As part of that recruitment, we have been talking consistently with parents about our sport and the overall UP program. Overwhelmingly, parents say that their child enjoys ultimate and UP activities that UP brings!
Two added benefits, according to one mother whose son recently registered for Camp 2015, are (a) that her son is meeting people he wouldn’t otherwise have met (his older siblings don’t have multicultural relationships, for example), and (b) that this has sparked a conversation inside the family about the people around them. These are wonderful changes happening as we speak because of the UP ongoing program.
These are just small anecdotes from the success of the 2014-15 Ongoing Program. Now we are thinking about the coming year, during which Ultimate Peace is looking to grow. One of the program areas we are considering growing is Community Visits, so that communities like Tuba Zangariya and Yesod Hamaala continue their ultimate success, and so that they meet each other regularly